Sir Simon Stevens, chief executive, said 165,000 patients will take part in the scheme earmarked to start next summer.
Research on people with signs of the disease suggests the Galleri blood test can identify many types that are difficult to diagnose early, such as head and neck, ovarian, pancreatic, oesophageal and some blood cancers.
Developed by US-based company Grail, the blood test checks for molecular changes.
If the initial programme shows that it also works as expected for people without symptoms, it will be rolled out to become routinely available.
The test could help meet the NHS goal of increasing the proportion of cancers caught early, which can be the key to reducing the disease’s mortality.
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